A Delaware teacher for nearly a decade, Mike Matthews has worked in the Red Clay Consolidated School District as a 4th and 5th grade teacher as well as a special education teacher in a resource room setting. He is on leave serving as the President of the Delaware State Education Association through July 2020. In his role as a state leader, he advocates for greater working and learning conditions for both educators and students. The high point of the role of DSEA President is visiting schools up and down the state to hear members’ success stories and to hear how DSEA can better advocate for their needs.
Before leading DSEA, Mike was president of the 1,200-member Red Clay Education Association (RCEA) from 2013-16 and it is his work with the local association where he learned that an educator’s own voice is the best tool for advocacy. During his time as RCEA President, he led the local community through a successful contract negotiation with the school district and Board of Education. Under his leadership, the RCEA also worked closely with parent groups to slow down the District’s move to shutter two schools that serve students with disabilities. Through greater community involvement, the district moved forward with that plan only after a year of planning and preparation for the eventual move to full inclusion for all students. Most critically, he led the RCEA’s fight against then-Governor Jack Markell’s Priority Schools plan requiring educators and school leaders to reapply for their jobs in six city of Wilmington schools or else face closure. At all points during his leadership of RCEA, Mike fought to have his members’ voices included as part of the dialogue and he made sure those members’ voices also represented the often underprivileged voices of the students they serve.